14 thoughts on “Forget Folders, Think Smart Folders”

  1. I hardly think folders are dead. 98% of the data file on my computer are either un-renamed jpgs filed in folders by e event, or mp3s filed in folders parallel with my player’s layout. Neither of these would be helped at all by smart folders.

  2. Btw, could you tell him that his site looks horrible?

    All, I see is big fonts, blinx logo and so much red color that my eye hurts. I would have never downloaded the software, if you didn’t plug it.


  3. JD,

    but the software is going to make you forget the ugly website. it is i tell you an abomination, but the software somehow makes up for it. anyway the software truly sucks on a mac

  4. I believe the latest version of MS Outlook also has a concept very close to the smart folders you describe above Om…..

  5. The “soft-links”, as they are implemented in Windows/DOS do not update themselves, and this has always been the case (I don’t remember having them in MS-DOS).

    So if you create a soft-link in Windows/DOS and them move the source file the link will be orphaned. And in comparison to Unix/Mac OS the soft-links will be updates with new location of the source file automatically.

    All this aside, this sounds good for a PC user; but this it should really be incorporated into the OS and not add another layer on-top of the OS.

  6. Om,

    I installed the software and got the similar horrible icons/windows. The icons are small and are unique to the application, still no text accompanies them. I uninstalled it. [No, I didn’t try harder to figure out the software.] I think it will kill my eyes if I kept looking at that software for one more minute.


  7. JD,

    I am frankly surprised because even as a mac users, i had no trouble using the smart folders etc via blinkx. it worked nicely for me. not much problems. sorry it didn’t pan out for you

  8. I’m with JD. I installed it some time back only to uninstall in less than an hour. Somehow, the software is not very eye pleasing even if it is functionally good. I was having pretty hard time using it

  9. Hi Om,

    Thanks for mentioning our product in your discussion about this — I think it’s a topic that’s only going to get increasingly interesting as we all deal with more and more stuff on our computers/devices.

    I just read the WSJ column and sort of agree. The hierarchical nature of folders is a very valuable as is the very idea of ‘foldering’ things … I think the problem is the assumption that this foldering somehow has to be a manual process.

    In fact, if you have technology like blinkx’s it’s possible to define a hierarchy, build it and organise it yourself but, when things get overwhelming, let the computer use what you’ve started as a seed to helping you in the future.

    I think the technology you use to achieve automatic sorting is the key here … most technologies today (gmail, Tiger and some of the others) depend on keyword searches and metadata — these work great in some cases but can be easily fooled in others with pretty annoying results (millions of documents because your home improvement folder on ‘windows’ suddenly picked up every mention of the OS’s name, etc). That’s why we’re focused on using conceptual technology in our own sorting approach that reads and understands the entirety of the files you’ve put in a folder, not just fixating on a keyword or two. If you do that and capture the nuance and subtleties of what someone’s trying to organise, you stand a much better chance of organising things effectively for them.

    So, overall, I’d say folders are a good thing, their properties (hierarchy, controllability, etc) are all good things that mean that seach alone and/or tags can’t replace them. What does work, however, is giving those folders a bit of an intelligence boost which is exactly what we are trying to do.


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  11. I use them in the Tiger finder and have started to use them in Mail. They are pretty sweet and change a lot about the way I work but mainly I use the new search functions to search for something when I need it and do away with folders all together, smart or not.

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